Benefits of CNC Prototyping
CNC (computer numerical control) prototyping is a comparatively new process in the machining world that allows for greater efficiency through higher levels of automation, and by having the machine and its computer controls perform all the work. While CNC prototyping machines are complicated and pricey, they almost instantly pay for themselves by decreasing the workload and controlling errors.
The first main advantage of CNC prototyping is that it improves automation, removing the need of an operator for all but a few parts of the work. CNC prototyping machines could be left unwatched for hours or, if necessary, even days, allowing operators to spend time on other tasks. This also lets a company hire fewer operators, thus saving on overhead. Without an operator, safety is increased, because in case there is a jam or other potentially dangerous machining error, no one will be holding the tool and the damage will be confined to the tool itself. CNC prototyping machines can also work a lot faster than human machinists, as they are much stronger and have no need to take breaks. They can also operate late at night, when most workers have returned home, because machines do not have to worry about getting sleep or receiving overtime pay.
The second most significant benefit to CNC prototyping is that it produces the same exact result each and every time. Even the best human operator will have small variations among finished outcomes, but a CNC machine will generate exactly the same result at all times. This is highly important in the modern time of homogeneous and exchangeable parts, where a single defective cut can render the machine entirely unusable. All that will be necessary is one program to be developed and installed into the machine. Then the machine can work away at however many work pieces are needed, producing an exact replica down to thousandths of an inch each and every time.
The third considerable advantage to CNC prototyping is the machine’s flexibility. Even as humans are way more flexible and trainable compared to machines, a CNC machine can be entirely reprogrammed in a matter of hours to churn out a completely different product. It is hence possible to go back to old programs or install new programs whenever a new work piece must be produced. This gives CNC prototyping machines a great advantage over other machines, because they can easily shift to producing a totally new product without having to install new parts or performing an overhaul of major components. This also guarantees that CNC prototyping machines can meet growing customer demands, considering they can easily shift from producing parts in surplus to parts that are lacking if necessary.